Hubble Ultra-Deep Field region observed through the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer. Image: ESO / MUSE HUDF collaboration

Astronomers working with the Very Large Telescope in Chile have surveyed a patch of the sky and detected 72 new galaxies never seen before.

What's new: Beginning in 2004, the Hubble Space Telescope delivered detailed pictures of a patch of sky that now bears its name — the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field is a view nearly 13 billion years back into the early universe. Using the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument, researchers again looked at this well-studied region and found 72 new galaxies and collected more information about 1,600 of the estimated 10,000 galaxies there. (The existence of the new galaxies needs to be confirmed, possibly by the James Webb Space Telescope when it launches next year.)

How they did it: MUSE measures the amount of different colors of light in every pixel of an image, allowing it to detect properties of galaxies not seen before. Two findings from 10 papers published today in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics:

  • The 72 candidate galaxies emit only one color of light called Lyman-alpha. It's unclear how these galaxies form but studying them will help to better understand how they created stars in the early universe.
  • They also observed halos of hydrogen gas around some of the galaxies that may help to explain how the ingredients for galaxies come together.

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the "Proud Boys" are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded: "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."